Something in me is still moved by words like these, from Prodigal Kiwis:
“…When Thomas Merton was a novice master at the Abbey of Gethsemane…He started off one class by speaking [the following] words to the earnest and pious would-be monks who’d been placed in his care: “Men, before you have a spiritual life, you’ve got to have a life!”
I [Parker Palmer] treasure that line because it sheds the light of humor on one of the big problems of religion and spirituality: the assumption that the spiritual life is a life set apart from the “secular” life – which is to say, from the life one is living.
… Merton’s point, of course, is that we will find our spiritual lives in [the mess of our lives themselves], in [their] earthly realities, unpredictable challenges, surprising resources, [and] creative dynamics…
…If we stand in the middle of the mess assuming that the spiritual life will be orderly and pristine, linear and logical without complexity or contradiction, we will pray… for an extreme makeover, [and] of course, the ultimate extreme makeover is an embalmed and well-accessorized corpse, which is what we become in life when we try to defy [and reduce] the wideness and wildness of God…”